by Nick Statt
Originally published: July 26, 2017
Airbnb and the NAACP announced a partnership today to promote the rental service’s platform in communities of color. The move is a way to both boost the sharing economy as an income stream for black Americans and help increase the diversity of hosts to curb discrimination. Airbnb has grappled for years now with racism on its platform, with hosts discriminating against people of color and other minorities both in the US and abroad when deciding who they permit to rent their homes or apartments.
In many cases, racist hosts will deny rental applications from black users or claim the property is booked on the selected dates, only to turn around and rent the property to a white user or leave the dates unbooked. In response to an increasing number of cases documented on social media, Airbnb user Quirtina Crittenden coined the hashtag #airbnbwhileblack last year. It quickly went viral, prompting an outpouring of personal accounts that quickly turned into an public relations nightmare for Airbnb.